Nick Mwendwa and his newly elected office at Football Kenya Federation certainly have their work cut out as they begin a second term in office after yesterday’s national football elections.
There is no time to savour the win for the 41-year-old businessman as he has a full in-tray.
After the election which was supposed to be held in November last year having been twice nullified by the Sports Disputes Tribunal before they were held yesterday, Mwendwa and his National Executive Committee (NEC) must now hit the ground running and put the football house in order.
Mwendwa begins his second four-year term when Kenyan football is still grappling with financial challenges and the federation stands accused of misappropriation of funds.
For a start, he has to ensure the stability of the new FKF Premier League and full resumption of football activities before clearing debts owed to former Harambee Stars coaches.
There is also the duty of luring more sponsorships back to the game, preparing national team Harambee Stars and development of women/youth football, improving their relationship with the government and unifying all stakeholders.
The new office will have to work hard and convince the government to allow full resumption of football activities as well as legalise all the deals Mwendwa signed before being re-elected and regularise the declaration of Gor Mahia as 2019/20 Premier League champions.
The deal reportedly secured by the federation is FKF Premier League broadcast partnership with StarTimes, BetKing and Milele FM.
Even as they continue engaging the ministries of sports and health, the federation has another duty of preparing Harambee Stars for next month’s two-legged 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers against Comoros Islands.
Francis Kimanzi’s men will take on the Group G leaders on November 9 in Nairobi before flying out to Moroni for the return leg four days later.
The federation will have to invest fully in Stars preparation to give Mwendwa a chance to leave a legacy in Kenyan football; becoming the first president to oversee the national team qualify for two successive continental finals. Kenya participated in the 2019 AFCON finals in Egypt where they did not go past the first round in Group C.
After last week’s Harambee Stars 2-1 win over Zambia’s Chipolopolo at Nyayo National Stadium, the federation is in a better position to convince the government to give them permission to start football activities in the country.
And having taken the management of the top tier league after the expiry of Kenyan Premier League Limited’s contract last month followed by the announcement of the fixtures for the upcoming 2020/21 season, players, coaches, referees and fans are all anxious to have football action back.
The premier league clubs have been out of action since the sporting industry was shut in March after the first case of coronavirus infection was reported in the country.
But it will be interesting to see how the new league, whose management has since moved from Westlands to Goal Project offices at Kasarani will be run.
Though Mwendwa’s previous regime had secured a couple of sponsorships for the Premier League (StarTimes, BetKing and Milele FM), National Super League (Betika) and grassroots football (Oditbet) as well the Women Premier League, the second term gives him an opportunity to source more funds for the ever struggling clubs.
But the federation’s biggest task will be to pay former Harambee Stars coaches, Amrouche and Bobby Williamson’s combined compensation fees of Sh168 million for wrongful dismissals.
This follows last year’s orders by the courts. Fifa’s Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) instructed the federation to pay the Belgian Sh109 million for his wrongful sacking in 2014 as the Employment and Labour Relations Court awarded his successor Bobby Williamson Sh55 million for the same reason.
Another former Harambee Stars coach Sebastien Migne has also threatened action on the federation over unpaid dues.